Taking the next step: The bright future for court reporting
The court reporting industry has seen major changes and renewed growth in recent years. New technologies – including real-time transcription, streaming video, online transcript repositories and case management software – have opened new opportunities and made the court reporting industry an indispensable component of litigation case management.
One result of these accelerating changes has been our decision to discontinue our Westlaw Deposition Services business. Westlaw Deposition Services was originally created prior to our acquisition of LiveNote to help provide a bridge as the industry became more equipped to manage real-time information, and now that real-time-ready court reporters are widely available, there’s no longer a need for us to provide this service. This decision will allow us to focus more resources on creating new products and enhancing our current robust line of litigation-related products, such as RealLegal and West Case Notebook, the advanced platform for LiveNote depositions.
As a business, we are committed to being an advocate and helping grow the industry by developing the most advanced tools, services and expertise possible to help court reporters and agencies perform their work more efficiently and effectively, strengthening the value they bring to their clients.
One of our key goals is to encourage the technological advancement of court reporting. Professional development programs, such as the Certified LiveNote Reporter (CLR) credentialing, are an essential driver of industry expansion as reporters and agencies continue to find new and advanced ways to serve their clients.
We have increased access to the CLR program by reducing its cost and adding a free refresher course within the first year of membership. CEU credit from the National Court Reporters Association is now both prepaid and preapproved. Feedback from CLR participants about these changes has been overwhelmingly positive. Additionally, CLRs are now entitled to up to five West LiveNote licenses for use on loaner laptops during depositions. Many have commented that the program has helped to increase their earning potential by preparing them to confidently offer real-time services and accept work they may have been hesitant to accept before.
Increased individual CLR certifications also means more opportunities for reporting agencies to qualify for the LiveNote Certified Partner program, which is currently being redesigned to reflect the discontinuation of Westlaw Deposition Services, providing even more value for certified agencies.
To further facilitate LiveNote usage, we have recently clarified our policies to reassure court reporters that they are not responsible in any way for policing or ensuring Engate compliance of their real-time connections. Whether using Unlimited Real-Time subscriptions or token-based LiveNote, it is strictly up to the attorney end user to ensure proper compliance.
We are focused on delivering to the marketplace leading-edge tools that enable court reporters to work more efficiently and provide greater value to their clients. We are continually enhancing our industry-leading tools for court reporters, including E-Transcript Manager and RealLegal Publisher. New improvements to RealLegal will make its suite of services even more powerful and user-friendly. RealLegal Publisher version 5.5, which was recently released, enhances the viewing and sharing of documents through West Case Notebook.
We are excited about the future of the court reporting industry. We are expanding opportunities for court reporters and agencies to engage in high-value, real-time depositions. With this new focus of our resources, we are dramatically accelerating development of leading tools and services to help reporters perform their jobs with higher levels of speed, accuracy and productivity. The skills of court reporters, coupled with the capabilities of new technologies, are kicking off a new era of growth and opportunity for court reporting, and we look forward to being a part of it.
Allison Guidette is vice president and general manager, Litigation